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VISVESVARAYA TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY

Jnana Sangama, Belgaum-590014

A Project Report On

DESIGN AND FABRICATION OF THERMOACOUSTIC


REFRIGERATION SYSTEM
By
NIRANTH M S 4MT10ME064
ELVIN LOBO 4MT10ME030
DEVRAJ P N 4MT10ME028
KIRAN LOBO 4MT10ME049

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the degree of

BACHELOR OF ENGINEERING
In

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Under the Guidance of
Mr. KARTHIK S.R
Asst. Professor,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
MITE, Moodabidri.

Department Of Mechanical Engineering


MANGALORE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING
(ISO 9001:2008 Certified Institute)
(Affiliated to Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum)
2013 2014
MANGALORE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING
(ISO 9001:2008 Certified Institute)
(Affiliated to Visvesvaraya Technological University, Belgaum)
Badaga Mijar, Mangalore-574225, Karnataka
DEPARTMENT OF MECHANICAL ENGINEERING

CERTIFICATE
This is to certify that the project report entitled DESIGN AND FABRICATION OF
THERMOACOUSTIC REFRIGERATION SYSTEM is a bonafide record of project
work carried out by Mr. NIRANTH M S (4MT10ME064), Mr. ELVIN LOBO
(4MT10ME030), Mr. DEVRAJ P N (4MT10ME028) and Mr. KIRAN LOBO
(4MT10ME049) in partial fulfillment for the award of BACHELOR OF
ENGINEERING in MECHANICAL ENGINEERING of the VISVESVARAYA
TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY, BELGAUM during the year 2013-2014 in
MECHANICAL ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT, M.I.T.E, MOODABIDRI. It is
certified that all corrections/suggestions indicated for internal assessment have been
incorporated in the report deposited in the department library. The project has been
approved as it satisfies the academic requirements in respect of project work prescribed
for the said degree.

Mr. Karthik S.R Dr. C.R.Rajashekhara


B.E, MTech B.E, M.E, PhD

Project Guide Head of the Department

Dr. G.L. Easwara Prasad


B.E, M.E, PhD, MISTE

Principal

Name of the Examiners Signature with Date

1.

2.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

First and foremost, we deem it a privilege to place on record the deep sense of gratitude to
our internal guide Mr. KARTHIK S.R, Asst. Professor, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering,
who always stood behind us and supported in each and every step of the project work.

We wish to express our deep sense of gratitude and indebtedness to


Dr. C.R. RAJASHEKHARA, Head of Department, Mechanical Engineering, who always
supported as the backbone and helped us to make our project work a successful one.

We are extremely grateful to our project Coordinator, Mr. V RAMESHA, Associate


Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering and all the members in the panel of
Guides, in guiding us to a successful seminar.

Our sincere thanks to our principal Dr. G.L. EASWARA PRASAD, whose support made
us to conceive our project work.

We are very thankful to teaching and technical staff of Mechanical Engineering


Department, MITE for their kind help and assistance during our project work.

Finally it is with great pleasure that we as a team express our gratitude to all those who
have been associated in carrying out the PROJECT WORK.

NIRANTH M S
ELVIN LOBO
DEVRAJ P N
KIRAN LOBO

i
ABSTRACT

From creating comfortable home environments to manufacturing fast and efficient


electronic devices, air conditioning and refrigeration remain expensive, yet essential,
services for both homes and industries. However, in an age of impending energy and
environmental crises, current cooling technologies continue to generate greenhouse gases
with high energy costs.

Thermo acoustic refrigeration is an innovative alternative for cooling that is both clean
and inexpensive. Through the construction of a functional model, we have demonstrated
the effectiveness of thermo acoustics for modern cooling. Thermo acoustic refrigeration is
an emerging refrigeration technology which does not require any moving parts or harmful
refrigerants in its operations.

The work reported here deals with the design of the Thermo Acoustic Refrigerator (TAR) as
an attempt to address the future generation environment friendly energy system. The
manufacturing of the different components of the apparatus will be explained along with the
reasons for using specific materials.

The motivation of the design of thermo acoustic refrigerator explains the reasons for carrying
out the work illustrating its benefits and how the performance of the TAR in future can be made
efficient in comparison with the performance of a conventional refrigerator.

ii
Contents
1. INTRODUCTION 1
1.1 Sound Waves and Pressure 2
1.2 Refrigeration Principle 3
1.3 Methods of Refrigeration 4
1.3.1 Vapor Compression Method 4
1.3.2 Vapor Absorption Method 5
1.4 Conventional Refrigeration System 6
1.4.1 Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle 6
1.5 Thermo Acoustic Refrigeration Principle 7
1.5.1 Thermo Acoustic Cycle 8
1.6 Project Definition 9
1.7 Project Specification 9
1.8 Project Goals 10
2. LITERATURE REVIEW 11
2.1 History of Thermo acoustics 11
2.2 Efficiency vs Other Methods 13
2.3 Implications 13
2.4 Summary 14
3. DESIGN OF THERMOACOUSTIC REFRIGERATION SYSTEM 16
3.1 General Theory 16
3.2 Components involved 17
3.2.1 Stack 18
3.2.2 Heat Exchanger 19
3.2.3 Resonator 19
3.3 Design Considerations 21
3.3.1 Acoustic driver 21
3.3.2 Resonator 22
3.3.2.1 Quarter wave resonator 22
3.3.2.2 Half wave resonator 23
3.3.3 Stack 24

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3.3.4 working fluid 25
4. FABRICATION OF TAR 26
4.1 Speaker and Housing 26
4.2 Resonator 27
4.3 Stack 30
4.4 Heat Exchangers 32
4.5 Buffer Volume 34
5. ADVANTAGES, LIMITATIONS, CONSTRUCTION PROBLEMS 36
5.1 Advantages 36
5.2 Limitations 36
5.3 Problems with Construction 37
5.3.1 Sealing 37
5.3.2 Soldering 37
5.3.3 Crookedness, Damage 37
6. TESTING RESULTS 38
6.1 Testing result 38
7. CONCLUSION, POSSIBLE MODIFICATIONS 41
7.1 Conclusion 41
7.2 Possible Modifications 41
8. COST ANALYSIS 42
9. References 43
10. Appendix A 45

iv
LIST OF FIGURES

Figure No Particulars Page no


1-1 Standings Waves 3
1-2 Refrigeration cycle 3
1-3-1 Method of Vapor Compression 4
1-3-2 Method of Vapor Absorption 5
1-4-1(a) Working of Vapor Compression Refrigeration Cycle 7
1-4-1(b) T-s diagram for Vapor Compression Cycle 7
1-5 Thermo Acoustic Refrigerator Cycle 9
2-1 The Sondhauss tube 11
2-2 Hoflers Standing wave Refrigerator 12
3-3-1 Acoustic driver 21
3-3-2(a) Quarter wavelength resonator 22
3-3-2(b) Half wavelength resonator 23
3-3-2(c) Optimized resonator 23
4-0 Tijanis design with 90 Aluminum bulb 26
4-1 Speaker Components 26
4-2-1 Assembled small diameter tube after brazing 29
4-2-2 Assembled stack Housing after gluing 29
4-2-3(a) complete speaker housing 30
4-2-3(b) PVC adapter glued to speaker housing 30
4-3-1 Nylon rope 31
4-3-2 Wooden Dowel 31
4-3-3(a) Preparation of Stack 32
4-3-3(b) Stack after Rolling 32
4-4-1 Proposed Heat Exchanger Design 32
4-4-2(a) Copper Mesh Heat Exchanger 33

v
4-4-2(b) Copper Wool Heat Exchanger 34
4-5 Buffer volume made of copper sheet 35
4-6 Assembled view of TAR 36

vi
LIST OF TABLES

Table No Particulars Page no


3-1 Selection of Acoustic Source 21
3-2 Resonator Selection 24
3-3 Stack material selection 25
3-4 Properties of Working Fluid 25
6-1 Results 39

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DESIGN AND FABRICATION OF THERMOACOUSTIC REFRIGERATION SYSTEM

Chapter 1

INTRODUCTION
From creating comfortable home environments to manufacturing fast and efficient
electronic devices, air conditioning and refrigeration remain expensive, yet essential,
services for both homes and industries. However, in an age of impending energy and
environmental crises, current cooling technologies continue to generate greenhouse gases
with high energy costs.

Thermo acoustic refrigeration is an innovative alternative for cooling that is both clean
and inexpensive. Through the construction of a functional model, we will demonstrate the
effectiveness of thermo acoustics for modern cooling.

Refrigeration relies on two major thermodynamic principles. First, a fluids temperature


rises when compressed and falls when expanded. Second, when two substances are placed
in direct contact, heat will flow from the hotter substance to the cooler one. While
conventional refrigerators use pumps to transfer heat on a macroscopic scale, thermo
acoustic refrigerators rely on sound to generate waves of pressure that alternately compress
and relax the gas particles within the tube.

Acoustic waves experience displacement oscillations, and temperature oscillations in


association with the pressure variations. In order to produce thermo acoustic effect, these
oscillations in a gas should occur close to a solid surface, so that heat can be transferred to
or from the surface. A slack of closely spaced parallel plates is placed inside the thermo
acoustic device in order to provide such a solid surface. The Thermo acoustic phenomenon
occurs by the interaction of the gas particles and the stack plate. When large temperature
gradients are created across the stack, sound waves are generated i.e. work is produced in
the form of acoustic power (forming a thermo acoustic engine). In the reverse case, the
acoustic work is used in order to create temperature gradients across the stack, which is
used to transfer heat from a low temperature medium to a high temperature medium (as the
case of a thermo acoustic refrigerator).

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The model constructed for this research project employed inexpensive, household
materials. Although the model did not achieve the original goal of refrigeration, the
experiment suggests that thermo acoustic refrigerators could one day be viable
replacements for conventional refrigerators.

1.1 Sound Waves and Pressure

Thermo acoustics is based on the principle that sound waves are pressure waves. These
sound waves propagate through the air via molecular collisions. The molecular collisions
cause a disturbance in the air, which in turn creates constructive and destructive
interference. The constructive interference makes the molecules compress, and the
destructive interference makes the molecules expand. This principle is the basis behind the
thermo acoustic refrigerator. One method to control these pressure disturbances is with
standing waves. Standing waves are natural phenomena exhibited by any wave, such as
light, sound, or water waves. In a closed tube, columns of air demonstrate these patterns as
sound waves reflect back on themselves after colliding with the end of the tube. When the
incident and reflected waves overlap, they interfere constructively, producing a single
waveform. This wave appears to cause the medium to vibrate in isolated sections as the
traveling waves are masked by the interference. Therefore, these standing waves seem to
vibrate in constant position and orientation around stationary nodes. These nodes are
located where the two component sound waves interfere to create areas of zero net
displacement. The areas of maximum displacement are located halfway between two nodes
and are called antinodes. The maximum compression of the air also occurs at the antinodes.
Due to these node and antinode properties, standing waves are useful because only a small
input of power is needed to create a large amplitude wave. This large amplitude wave then
has enough energy to cause visible thermo acoustic effects. All sound waves oscillate a
specific amount of times per second, called the waves frequency, and is measured in Hertz.
For our thermo acoustic refrigerator we had to calculate the optimal resonant frequency in
order to get the maximum heat transfer rate. The equation for the frequency of a wave
traveling through a closed tube is given by:
f = v/4L
where f is frequency, v is velocity of the wave, and L is the length of the tube.

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Figure 1.1: Shows the relationship between the phase of the wave, the pressure, and the
actual arrangement of the molecules. The black line shows the phase of the sound wave,
the red shows the pressure and the dots below represent the actual molecules.

1.2 Refrigeration Principle

The working principle is as explained below. First the refrigerant comes into the
compressor as a low-pressure gas, it is compressed and then moves out of the compressor
as a high-pressure gas. The gas then flows to the condenser. Here the gas condenses to a
liquid, and gives off its heat to the outside air. The liquid then moves to the expansion valve
under high pressure. This valve restricts the flow of the fluid, and lowers its pressure as it
leaves the expansion valve. The low-pressure liquid then moves to the evaporator, where
heat from the inside air is absorbed and changes it from a liquid to a gas. As a hot low-
pressure gas, the refrigerant moves to the compressor where the entire cycle is repeated.
Note that the four-part cycle is divided at the centre into a high side and a low side. This
refers to the pressures of the refrigerant in each side of the system.

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1.3 Methods of Refrigeration


There are two methods of refrigeration
1) vapour compression
2) vapour absorption
1.3.1 Vapour compression method:

The diagram shows the components of a vapour-compression refrigeration cycle: a


compressor, condenser, expansion valve, and evaporator. A low pressure, low temperature
liquid is converted to vapour in the evaporator, thus absorbing heat from the refrigerated
space and keeping that space cool. The fluid is driven around the cycle by the compressor,
which compresses the low temperature, low pressure vapour leaving the evaporator to high
pressure, high temperature vapour. That vapour is condensed to liquid in the condenser,
thus giving off heat at a high temperature to the surrounding environment. Finally, the high
pressure, high temperature liquid leaving the condenser is cooled and reduced in pressure
by passing it through an expansion valve. This provides the input to the evaporator which
was the first step of the cycle. The work and heat flows shown in the diagram are Win,
QH and QL. Win is the work input to the compressor. The rate of work input to the
compressor is most of the power requirement to run the refrigeration system. Power will
probably be needed to drive one or more fans, but their power requirement will be small in
comparison with that needed to drive the compressor. QH is the high temperature heat
rejected to the surroundings by the condenser. QL is the low temperature heat absorbed
from the cooled space by the evaporator.

Fig 1.3.1 method of vapour compression

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1.3.2 Vapour absorption method:

The vapour absorption refrigeration system comprises of all the processes in the vapour
compression refrigeration system like compression, condensation, expansion and
evaporation. In the vapour absorption system the refrigerant used is ammonia, water or
lithium bromide. The refrigerant gets condensed in the condenser and it gets evaporated in
the evaporator. The refrigerant produces cooling effect in the evaporator and releases the
heat to the atmosphere via the condenser.

The major difference between the two systems is the method of the suction and
compression of the refrigerant in the refrigeration cycle. In the vapour compression cycle,
the compressor sucks the refrigerant from evaporator and compresses it to the high
pressure. The compressor also enables the flow of the refrigerant through the whole
refrigeration cycle. In the vapour absorption cycle, the process of suction and compression
are carried out by two different devices called as the absorber and the generator. Thus the
absorber and the generator replace the compressor in the vapour absorption cycle. The
absorbent enables the flow of the refrigerant from the absorber to the generator by
absorbing it.

Fig 1.3.2 Method of vapour absorption

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1.4 Conventional Refrigeration System

The refrigerator is a device that transfers heat from a low-temperature medium to a higher
temperature using external work input. The working fluid used in the refrigerator is called
the refrigerant. The refrigeration process is based on the first and second law of
thermodynamics, and its operation is based on one of the thermodynamic refrigeration
cycles. The most commonly used refrigeration cycle is the vapour-compression type.

1.4.1 Vapour-Compression Refrigeration Cycle

The vapour-compression refrigeration cycle is the most widely used cycle for
refrigerators, air-conditioning systems, and heat pumps. It consists of four thermodynamic
processes, and involves four main components: compressor, condenser, expansion valve,
and evaporator, as shown in Fig. 1.4.1(a). The refrigerant enters the compressor as a
saturated vapour at a very low temperature and pressure (state 1). The compression process
takes place inside the compressor. Both the temperature and pressure of the refrigerant
increase as a result, and the refrigerant becomes superheated vapour at the exit of the
compressor (state 2). At this state, the temperature of the refrigerant is greater than the
temperature of the high-temperature medium. The refrigerant then enters the condenser.
The heat transfer process takes place in the condenser at a constant pressure, where heat is
transferred from the refrigerant to the high-temperature medium. As a result, there is a small
decrease in the temperature of the refrigerant as it exits the condenser (state 3). The
refrigerant then enters the expansion valve in which the temperature and pressure of the
refrigerant drop significantly due to the sudden expansion. At the end of the expansion
process, the temperature of the refrigerant becomes lower than that of the low-temperature
medium (state 4). The refrigerant then enters the evaporator where heat is transferred from
the low-temperature medium to the refrigerant at constant pressure, resulting in a small
increase in the temperature of the refrigerant. At the exit of the evaporator, the refrigerant
reaches the state 1 again. The refrigeration cycle is then repeated when the refrigerant enters
the compressor. The four processes of ideal vapour-compression refrigeration cycle arc
plotted on a T-S diagram in Fig. 1.4.1 (b).

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Figure 1.4.1(a): Basic component of a refrigeration system working on the vapour-


compression refrigeration cycle.

Figure 1.4.1(b): T-S diagram for the ideal vapour-compression refrigeration cycle.
1- 2 Isentropic compression in a compressor.
2- 3 Constant pressure heat rejection in a condenser.
3- 4 Throttling in an expansion device.
4- 1 Constant pressure heat absorption in an evaporator.

1.5 Thermo Acoustic Refrigeration Principle

Thermo acoustics combines the branches of acoustics and thermodynamics together to


move heat by using sound. While acoustics is primarily concerned with the macroscopic
effects of sound transfer like coupled pressure and motion oscillations, thermo acoustics
focuses on the microscopic temperature oscillations that accompany these pressure
changes. Thermo acoustics takes advantage of these pressure oscillations to move heat on
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a macroscopic level. This results in a large temperature difference between the hot and cold
sides of the device and causes refrigeration.

The most important piece of a thermo acoustic device is the stack. The stack consists of a
large number of closely spaced surfaces that are aligned parallel to the to the resonator tube.
The purpose of the stack is to provide a medium for heat transfer as the sound wave
oscillates through the resonator tube. In typical standing wave devices, the temperature
differences occur over too small of an area to be noticeable. In a usual resonator tube, heat
transfer occurs between the walls of cylinder and the gas. However, since the vast majority
of the molecules are far from the walls of the chamber, the gas particles cannot exchange
heat with the wall and just oscillate in place, causing no net temperature difference. In a
typical column, 99% of the air molecules are not near enough to the wall for the temperature
effects to be noticeable. The purpose of the stack is to provide a medium where the walls
are close enough so that each time a packet of gas moves, the temperature differential is
transferred to the wall of the stack.

Most stacks consist of honeycombed plastic spacers that do not conduct heat throughout
the stack but rather absorb heat locally. With this property, the stack can temporarily absorb
the heat transferred by the sound waves. The spacing of these designs is crucial: if the holes
are too narrow, the stack will be difficult to fabricate, and the viscous properties of the air
will make it difficult to transmit sound through the stack. If the walls are too far apart, then
less air will be able to transfer heat to the walls of the stack, resulting in lower efficiency.

1.5.1 Thermo acoustic Cycle

The cycle by which heat transfer occurs is similar to the Stirling cycle. Figure 1.4 traces
the basic thermo acoustic cycle for a packet of gas, a collection of gas molecules that act
and move together. Starting from point 1, the packet of gas is compressed and moves to the
left. As the packet is compressed, the sound wave does work on the packet of gas, providing
the power for the refrigerator. When the gas packet is at maximum compression, the gas
ejects the heat back into the stack since the temperature of the gas is now higher than the
temperature of the stack. This phase is the refrigeration part of the cycle, moving the heat
farther from the bottom of the tube. In the second phase of the cycle, the gas is returned to
the initial state. As the gas packet moves back towards the right, the sound wave expands
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the gas. Although some work is expended to return the gas to the initial state, the heat
released on the top of the stack is greater than the work expended to return the gas to the
initial state. This process results in a net transfer of heat to the left side of the stack. Finally,
in step 4, the packets of gas reabsorb heat from the cold reservoir to repeat the heat transfer
process.

Fig 1.5 Thermo acoustic refrigerator cycle.

1.6 Project Definition

This project aimed to design, construct and test a thermo acoustic refrigeration system
which provides cooling with low maintenance cost by using an environmental friendly
process.

1.7 Project Specification

Thermo acoustic refrigerator has some specifications that meet most of the requirements
and one can be added easily to it
1) Competitively efficient 2) No CFCs 3) Adjustable temperature control 4) No
lubricants 5) Safe 6) Minimum moving parts.

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1.8 Project Goals

To build a prototype refrigeration device which demonstrates the thermo acoustic


principle.

The successful operation of the thermo acoustic refrigeration system by finding the
difference in temperature from hotter region to colder region.

Completion of the project within project time frame and within budget constraints.
Project completion within time will be measured through comparison with project
timeline. Budget conformance will be measured through detailed tracking of all
project costs and a final project spending report.

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Chapter 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

2.1 History of Thermo acoustics

In his 1686 work Principia, Newton included a mechanical interpretation of sound as


being pressure pulses transmitted through neighbouring fluid particles. Newton thought
these expansions and compressions happened without affecting the temperature, while in
fact they do produce slight variations in temperature as found by Laplace [1]. This was
observed by 19th-century glassblowers who noticed that as the glass was heated up sound
was produced (Garrett) [2]. This made people wonder if a change temperature could
produce sound, could sound produce a change in temperature?

In the mid-1800s, Rijke and Sondhaus made numerous discoveries significantly


progressing the study of thermo acoustics. Rijke determined that a large vertical tube, Open
at both ends, emitted sound when heat was place at one quarter of the tube length.
Additionally, Sondhaus described how a tube closed at one end will produce sound when
the closed end is heated.

Figure 2.1: The Sondhauss tube


(Sound is generated from the tip of the stem, when heat is supplied to the bulb)

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In 1975, Merkli and Thomann were able to observe sound producing a temperature
difference (Symko, 646) [3]. Rott researched these effects and developed the mathematics
describing oscillations in a tube with a temperature gradient (Swift, Unifying Perspective
2380) [5]. These results confirmed the connection between sound and heat.

In 1983, Wheatley developed a thermo acoustic refrigerator, which produced a


temperature difference of 100C when pumped with sound at 500 Hz at a level above 185
dB in pressurized helium gas (Symko,648)[12]. Five years later, Hofler invented a
standing-wave thermo acoustic refrigerator, confirming the validity and accuracy of Rotts
approach to acoustics in small channels (Swift, A Brief Description 1) [6]. The Space
Thermo acoustic Refrigerator (STAR) was the first electrically-driven thermo acoustic
chiller designed to operate outside a laboratory. It was launched on the Space Shuttle
Discovery (STS-42) on January 22, 1992. Developed and tested at the Naval Postgraduate
School in Monterey, CA, it has the ability to move five watts of heat and exhibited a peak
Carnot efficiency of 20% across the stack (Penn State).

Figure 2.2: Hoflers standing-wave refrigerator

In 1995, the Shipboard Electronics Thermo acoustic Chiller was used to cool electronics
on board the USS Deyo, a Spruance-class destroyer in the Atlantic Fleet. While at sea, it
produced a maximum cooling power of 419 watts and at the lowest temperature which
could be achieved using water as the heat exchanging fluid, it produced 294 watts of useful
cooling. It exhibited a peak Carnot efficiency of 17%.

In 2004, Penn State and Ben & Jerrys teamed up to produce a working thermo acoustic
chiller [13]. The refrigerator was debuted at Ben & Jerrys in Manhattan on Earth Day. The
device successfully kept the ice cream cold by using helium and a 190 dB loudspeaker that

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fluctuated 100 times per second (Lurie). Although 190 dB would damage a human ear, the
thermo acoustic refrigerator is completely enclosed and all that can be heard is a gentle
hum similar and sometimes quieter than that of a conventional refrigerator.

2.2 Efficiency vs. Other Methods

Unfortunately, thermo acoustic refrigerators are not highly efficient when compared with
vapour compression refrigerators. At the present time, the most efficient thermo acoustic
refrigerators have Carnot efficiencies between 20-30% which is half that of the
conventional counterpart (Penn State). However, higher efficiencies are possible if power
density is sacrificed or if a mixture of helium and heavier inert gasses is used (Swift,
Unifying Perspective 2379) [7]. For a project with a small-scale design, the lack of moving
parts should lead to a higher efficiency.

Despite the efficiency problem, for applications such as space cooling it may not be an
issue. Thermo acoustic refrigeration is highly useful for niche applications where efficiency
is not a major concern. However, as thermo acoustics is advancing and growing, the
efficiency of new devices continues to increase creating a greater application and need for
the technology.

2.3 Implications

There are many important implications that would come from the creation and wide spread
use of thermo acoustic refrigerators. Research and progress made in the field would greatly
benefit the energy industry. Thermo acoustic refrigerators have the great potential to be
environmentally friendly, quiet and a reliable source of energy (Tijani, Design 50)[8]. They
do not heavily rely on valuable fossil fuels like conventional refrigerators; the mass
production of efficient devices would greatly decrease the worlds dependence on such
resources. Also, thermo acoustic refrigerators have simplistic designs and can be produced
using few moving parts minimizing overall costs (Tijani, Construction 60) [9].

There is much to be gained from the use and mass production of efficient thermo acoustic
refrigerators. Unlike with classical engines, there are no sliding seals or lubrication, which

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is achieved because of the few moving components (Tijani, Construction 61) [10]. As a
result high powers and energies can be achieved from little pressure displacement within
the thermo acoustic refrigerator. They also have very few moving parts. In an electrically
driven thermo acoustic refrigerator there is only one moving component, the speaker. In a
thermally driven device there are none (Tijani, Construction 62) [11].

Unlike with other machines, thermo acoustic refrigerators are powered by gasses and need
no working fluids for a temperature change. The benefit of using a gas such as helium is
that it is non-toxic, non-flammable, and not hazardous to the environment. Unlike with
harmful hydroflouocarbons and dangerous greenhouse gasses, helium simply drifts into
space, rather than being trapped in Earths atmosphere. Helium is also the most practical
gas to use with thermo acoustic refrigeration since it has the highest sound velocity and
thermal conductivity of the inert gasses and is cheap compared to other noble gasses (Tijani,
Construction 63)[9].

Other benefits of thermo acoustic refrigeration include cooling power and immaturity.
These devices are intrinsically suited to proportional control meaning that their cooling
power is continuously variable (Tijani, Construction 64) [12]. Unlike with conventional
refrigerators, thermo acoustic refrigerators are not constantly running and since they can be
controlled better they waste less energy. Also, thermo acoustics is the youngest of the heat
engine cycles. Since it is recent compared to other methods, there is a greater chance for
breakthroughs in performance and manufacturability.

2.4 Summary

Loudspeaker driven thermo acoustic refrigerators are devices that are driven by sound to
generate cooling. These coolers use a loudspeaker to sustain a sound wave in a resonance
tube. In a gas-filled resonator a stack of plates and two heat exchangers are installed. The
interaction of the oscillating gas with the surface of the stack generates a heat transfer from
one end of the stack to the other end. This thesis reports on the design, development, and
optimization of thermo acoustic refrigerators. The influence of some fundamental thermo
acoustic parameters, such as the Prandtl number of the gas and the sheet spacing in the
stack on the performance, have been studied systematically.

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The influence of the Prandtl number on the performance of the refrigerator is


systematically studied by using helium noble-gas mixtures. The coefficient of performance
improves as the Prandtl number decreases, as expected. But the cooling power decreases
when the mole fraction of the heavy noble gas component increases in the mixture.

First newton said that sound waves are pressure waves, and the compression and
expression of sound waves takes place without affecting the temperature. However this was
disproved by Laplace, he said that cooling with sound is possible. Later Swift [7]
introduced another concept in addition to the flow-through design, where he has also
considered the addition of superimposed steady flow as a cross-flow. The purpose for this
concept is to eliminate the use of all heat-exchangers, thereby further reducing
manufacturing costs of a thermo acoustic refrigerator. However we are using stack as our
heat exchanger.

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Chapter 3

DESIGN OF THERMO ACOUSTIC


REFRIGERATION SYSTEM

3.1 General Theory

The theory behind thermo acoustic refrigerators rests mainly on Boyles Law of gases
governed by Equation given below

PV = nRT

Where P is the pressure, V is the volume, n is the number of moles of molecules, R is


Rydbergs constant 8.3145 J / mol K and T is temperature. Inside a closed container, V and
n stay constant. Therefore if pressure oscillations are created under these conditions, the
temperature will also oscillate. The pressure oscillations can be created by sounds waves
driven by a speaker. These changes in temperature can be exploited to pump heat from a
cold area to a hot area. This creates refrigeration with the use of sound waves, commonly
known as thermo acoustic refrigeration.

To promote thermo acoustic refrigeration there are several main components that are
involved. There is the resonator, the stack, heat exchangers, and the frequency generator.
The frequency generator oscillates to create pressure displacements in the closed container.
A common frequency generator is an electromechanical speaker. The stack is used to
thermally isolate the gas particles from the outside environment to allow the adiabatic
transport of heat from one heat exchanger to the other. The resonator is used to house the
sound waves with minimum acoustical dissipation. Also, the resonator must be thermally
insolate at the stack to prevent heat loss during thermo acoustic heat pumping.

In a thermo acoustic refrigerator, externally applied work transfers heat from the lower
temperature reservoir to the higher temperature reservoir, where the external work is
supplied by the standing sound wave in the resonator. The standing wave makes the gas
parcels oscillate back and forth parallel to the walls of the stack. This changing compression
and rarefaction of the gas makes the local temperature of the gas oscillate from the adiabatic

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nature of the sound waves. When the local temperature of the gas becomes larger than that
of the stack wall, the heats is transferred from the gas parcel to the stack wall. Once the
temperature becomes lower than that of the actual stack wall, the heat is completely
transferred from the wall to the gas parcel.

No heat is transferred along the stack when the peak-to-peak temperature variation caused
by adiabatic compression of the gas is the same as local wall temperature. However, when
the sound wave temperature variation of the gas parcel is greater than the longitudinal
temperature gradient,

Tcrit = p/cp

Heat will be transferred between the hot and cold ends of the stack from the lower
temperature to the higher temperature causing refrigeration, where p and are the acoustic
pressure and displacement amplitudes of the sound wave.

In general, as the longitudinal sound wave forces a gas parcel to move towards the closed
end of the tube the gas is compressed as a direct result of the increase in pressure. The
compression of the gas causes an increase in the temperature of the parcel making it hotter
than the stack wall. As a result the stack wall absorbs the extra heat from the gas causing
the parcel to reduce in volume. The gas parcel is then pushed towards the areas of lower
pressure where it can than absorb heat from the stack walls and expand.

The cycle of giving away and absorbing heat to and from the stack continues along the
tube. As a result, a small amount of heat is moved the short distance along the stack from
the cooler to the warmer end. This relay of gas parcels in turn moves a large amount of heat
from one end of the stack to the other in very small increments.

3.2 Components Involved

There are several main components involved in a thermo acoustic refrigerator. The main
components are the stack, heat exchangers and resonator. Each of these components has a
specific purpose in thermo acoustic refrigeration.

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3.2.1 Stack

The stack of a thermo acoustic refrigerator is a thin walled tube with thin, well-spaced
plates aligned parallel to the tube axis. The addition of more plates to the stack increases
the thermal exchange area, leading to an increased amount of heat flux and thus an
increased overall efficiency of the device.

The spacing between the plates in the stack is crucial in a properly functioning device. If
the spacing between the plates is too narrow the good thermal contact between the gas and
the stack keeps the gas at a temperature similar to the stack. If the spacing is too wide much
of the gas is in poor thermal contact with the stack and does not transfer heat effectively to
and from the stack. However, when the temperature difference across the stack is large
enough, the air in the tube oscillates spontaneously. The primary constraint in designing
the stack is that the layers need to be a few thermal penetration depths apart, with four
thermal penetration depths being the optimum layer separation. Where thermal penetration
depth, k, is defined as the distance that heat can diffuse through a gas during the time given
by Equation,
t=51/ f

Where f is the frequency of the standing wave. k depends on the thermal conductivity, k,
the density of the gas, , and the isobaric specific heat per unit mass, cp, according to
Equation,

k =k/fcp

For our purposes, we can assume a short stack approximation since the stack is short
enough that it does not perturb the standing wave shown by Equation,

P1 = PA sin(x/) =p1s

In order to ensure proper thermal interaction between the speaker and the stack, a
nonconductive material such as winding spacer, should be used. If a conductive material
such as copper is used, the temperature difference between the speaker and resonator will
be very small and thus hard to detect.

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3.2.2 Heat Exchanger

The heat exchangers function as a heat pump, driven by the acoustic work produced from
the stack. Heat exchangers are attached to both ends of the stack. The cold heat exchanger
removes heat from the cold temperature reservoir Tr and moves that heat to the cold side of
the stack at a temperature Tc. The heat exchanger at temperature Th rejects the pumped heat
from the cold heat exchanger and the absorbed acoustic work, which is at temperature Tc.
Without the heat exchangers, heat would neither be supplied nor extracted from the ends
of the stack. The heat exchanger strips and the nearby stack plates are nonparallel to each
other in order to prevent the total blockage of any gaps in the stack by a heat exchanger
strip. Once the hot heat exchanger temperature is high enough for the parcel of gas to
oscillate, the cold heat exchanger can cool to below 00C as the heat is pumped from the cold
heat exchanger to that of the room temperature exchanger. In order to achieve optimum
performance, the heat exchanger must be as long as the peak-to-peak displacement
amplitude:

2u1/

Where u is the x-component of the velocity of the longitudinal wave and is the enthalpy
per unit mass. When a heat exchanger is too long, some parcels of fluid only come into
contact with the ends of the heat exchanger and when it is too short parcels can jump past
the heat exchanger (Swift, TA Engines 1145). Both of which serve no purpose and are
ineffective in transporting heat. Although Equation for the heat exchanger length is ideal
for this project it is imprecise by k, which is the distance heat can diffuse longitudinally
past the ends of the heat exchanger. Poor performance of heat exchangers leads to lower
efficiencies in thermo acoustic refrigerators.

3.2.3 Resonator

The resonator is composed of three main parts: the tube, buffer volume, and speaker
housing. The resonator needs to be designed in such a way that is compact, light and strong.
It must also impede the dissipation of acoustical energy as much as possible. The amount
of acoustical power lost per unit of surface area of the resonator is given by Equation,

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Where is the density and is the thermal penetration depth (Tijani, Design 54).

The first consideration is the length of the resonator. The length of the resonator should
be a quarter that of the wavelength. A quarter-wavelength resonator will dissipate only half
the energy dissipated by the half-wavelength resonator (Swift, TA Engines 1147 and Swift,
Loudspeaker TAR 103).

Another consideration is the shape and size of the different resonator components.
Original designs simulated an open-end resonator by using a spherical buffer volume. Not
only is this complicated to manufacture, but also it is also not optimal. Recent research
conducted by Tijani, Zeegers and Waele has determined that having a bulb at the end of
the resonator can generate turbulence and so acoustic power losses occur (Tijani, Design
54). Instead, using Equation they found that a 9o cone-shaped buffer serves the same
purpose, but does not produce as much acoustic power loss. This can be made of copper or
aluminium. But to make our work easy we made use of glass bulb which gives us the same
effect but with some amount of acoustic power loss.

Swift has found that power losses are also minimized when the tube is split into large
diameter and small diameter sections, where the large diameter section holds the stack and
the small diameter section spans to the buffer volume. Thermal loss changes as a function
of the ratio of the tube diameter. Tijani found that the optimal tube ratios are 0.54 (Tijani,
Design 54).

The large diameter section, which holds the stack should have rigidity and very low
thermal conductivity (Tijani, Design 51). The low thermal conductivity allows the gas
parcels between the two ends of the stack to remain thermally insulated during the heat
pumping process. The previous Major Qualifying Project work completed by Hilt used
copper for the stack housing. This was a mistake because there was heat loss during the
pumping of heat from one heat exchanger to the other, reducing Delta T. Instead this section
should be made of a thermal insulator. For this section of the tube Swift proposed using
fiberglass and epoxy with a metal film coating to block diffusion of the gases inside of the
device (Swift, TA Engines 1168). Tijani proposed using POM-Ertacetal for this (Tijani,
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Design 51). It is important that the section of the tube at the heat exchanger is very thermally
conductive. The small diameter section of the resonator can be made of copper or
aluminium. It is important that the connection between the different sized tubes is tapered
to avoid dissipation of power.

3.3 Design Considerations

This section deals with the design, development and optimization of TAR. As large
number of parameters is involved, a group of parameters along with a group of
dimensionless independent variables will be used. The optimization of different parts of
refrigerator will be discussed, and likewise some criteria will be implemented to obtain an
optimum system.

3.3.1 Acoustic Driver

The total acoustic power used by the refrigerator is provided by an acoustic driver. A
significant portion of this power is used to pump heat in the stack and the rest is dedicated
in different parts of refrigerator. A higher performance of driver leads to higher
performance of whole refrigerator system. The Acoustic driver converts electric power into
acoustic power.

Fig 3.3.1 Acoustic driver

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Table 3.1-Selection of Acoustic Source

Frequency oscillator Amplifier Speaker


Generates signal from 1Hz Maximum power 50W Maximum power 120W
to 20000Hz

3.3.2 Resonator

The purpose of the resonator is to contain the working fluid in a thermo acoustic
refrigerator and create resonance in it at applied frequency. The shape, length and losses
are important parameters for designing the resonator. Length of the resonator is determined
by resonance frequency and minimum losses at wall of the resonator.
Resonators are generally of two types.

3.3.2.1 Quarter wavelength Resonator


Quarter wavelength resonators are made with tubes by sealing one end and making the
length approximately one quarter of the desired resonant frequency wavelength. The open
end of the tube is simulated by attaching a large volume to the end. This large volume
creates the boundary condition of zero pressure at the end, causing the end of the tube to
be a pressure node and velocity anti-node while the beginning of the resonator is
approximately a velocity node and a pressure anti-node.

Figure 3.3.2(a): Quarter wavelength Resonator

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3.3.2.2 Half wavelength resonator

Half wavelength resonators are roughly a long tube that is closed at the end. The closed
end means that the gas inside the resonator cannot move, creating a velocity node and
pressure anti-node. The driver at the beginning of the tube also creates a velocity node and
pressure anti-node, causes the natural frequency of such a cavity to be half the acoustic
wavelength.

Figure 3.3.2(b): Half wavelength Resonator

Acoustic power loss is proportional to the surface area of the resonator. If a quarter
wavelength resonator is used, the surface area of the resonator is approximately half that of
the half wavelength resonator, and so is more efficient. At end of the tube where the
transition to the large compliance volume occurs in a quarter length resonator could cause
losses due to turbulence generated by the steep transition. To solve this problem, a cone
shaped tapering out to the buffer volume. He found that the optimal half-angle of the
tapering from the resonance tube to the compliance volume is 9 degrees.

Figure 3.3.2(c): Optimized Resonator

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Table 3.2-Resonator Selection


Parameter Selection Reason

Resonator Type Quarter length Above mentioned


advantages
Material copper Low thermal conductivity

Length 49cm Calculated

Thickness 5mm To sustain working


pressure
ID 90mm As per speakers diameter

3.3.3 Stack

The most important component of thermo acoustic device is the stack inside which, the
thermo acoustic phenomenon occurs. Thus the characteristics of stack have a significant
impact on the performance of this device. The stack material should have good heat
capacity but low thermal conductivity. The low thermal conductivity for stack material is
necessary to obtain high temperature gradient across the stack material and heat capacity
larger than the heat capacity of the working fluid in addition to the stack material should
minimize the effect of viscous dissipation of the acoustic power.

Main design considerations of Stack are spacing between two layer, length of stack and
position of stack. The spacing between the plates in the stack is crucial in a properly
functioning device. If the spacing between the plates is too narrow the good thermal contact
between the gas and the stack keeps the gas at a temperature similar to the stack. If the
spacing is too wide much of the gas is in poor thermal contact with the stack and does not
transfer heat effectively to and from the stack.

The primary constraint in designing the stack is that the layers need to be a few thermal
penetration depths apart, with four thermal penetration depths being the optimum layer
separation. Where thermal penetration depth (k) is defined as the distance that heat can
diffuse through a gas during unit time and it is given by following equation.

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One of the important decisions made with stack design revolves around the trade-off
between efficiency and cooling power. This trade-off arises because as the stack is made
longer, the cooling power increases but the efficiency decreases. For every stack length
there is an optimal placement and suggests that the optimal placement is generally close to
half way between the velocity and pressure nodes.

Table 3.3 - Stack Material Selection

material Winding paper Thickness=100-150


microns
Layer spacing material Fishing lines Thickness= 4* k

3.3.4 Working Fluid

Many parameters such as power, efficiency and convenience are involved in the selection
of the working fluid. Thermo acoustic power increases with an increase in mean pressure
inside the resonator tube. It also increases with an increase in the velocity of the sound in
the working fluid. The lighter gases such as H2, He, Ne have the higher sound velocity.
Lighter gases are necessary for the refrigeration application because heavier gases condense
or freeze at low temperature or exhibit no ideal behaviour. In order to obtain high efficiency
and power a working gas with low Pradlt number and high sound speed should be chosen.

Table 3.4- Properties of Working Fluid

Working fluid used Helium Air

Sound velocity(m/s) 965 331


Thermal 0.1513 0.0257
conductivity(W/mK)
Specific heat(J/kgK) 5195 1005
Density(kg/m3) at 0.1786 1.205
atm.Condition

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Chapter 4

FABRICATION OF THERMO ACOUSTIC


REFRIGERATION SYSTEM
The design for this project was initially based off of Tijanis Design as shown in Figure
4. Ideally this design would have been implemented entirely. Due to time constraints, many
design aspects had to be modified.

Figure 4- Tijanis Design with 90 aluminium bulb

4.1 Speaker and Housing

Tijanis design used a mechanical driver to make sound waves in the resonator. Due to
time constraints, other methods were researched. The use of a common loudspeaker was
chosen. A 3.5 inch, 120 watt, 2-way coaxial speaker was purchased to drive the thermo
acoustic refrigerator. Although the possibility of using copper for the devices speaker
housing was researched, PVC was chosen as the primary material for the driver housing
because it is readily available, easy to machine, and thermally insulating.

PVC piping was utilized as the primary material for the speaker housing. A 4 inch PVC
slip cap and a PVC cleanout adaptor with threaded plug were bought after researching the
different styles of drain piping at the local hardware store in Mangalore. Using the acquired
materials, a hole was machined into the drain cap for the speaker face. PVC glue was
applied to secure the drain pipe within the drain cap.

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In order for the speaker to fit within the speaker housing, the mounting facets on either
side of the speaker were bent at 90-degree angles. The next task was to secure the speaker
in a way that would prevent the speaker from moving around and make it easily removable
if the speaker blew and needed to be replaced. Due to the shape of the speaker, it needed to
be spaced back 0.75 inches from the hole to prevent the speaker from making contact with
the speaker housing. To do this, pieces were acquired from around the lab.

These included arc shaped foam fittings in conjunction with a metal halo to space the
speaker. To keep the speaker secure aluminium sheeting was folded and the pieces were
wedged in between the speaker perimeter and the speaker housing wall. Figure 4.1 shows
the speaker components.

Fig 4.1 speaker components


The speakers electrical wires were soldered onto the appropriate leads. Sealant tape was
then applied to the threading on the PVC plug and it was then screwed into the slip cap to
prevent pressure leaks.

4.2 Resonator

The resonator is the body of the thermo acoustic refrigerator in which the sound waves
from the speaker resonate. When discussing the resonator the shell of the thermo acoustic
refrigerator between the speaker housing and the buffer volume will be discussed.

Tijanis design involves a resonator with a large diameter section and a small diameter
section. The small diameter section is approximately half of that of the large diameter
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section. The resonator should also be structurally sound to prevent any pressure or sound
loss. Use of copper for all parts of the resonator except the stack housing was planned,
which would be made of a material with low thermal conductivity.

The most cost-effective and time-efficient way to construct the resonator was using
plumbing supplies. The small diameter tube is a scrap piece of copper tube found in the
laboratory that closely matched the desired dimensions. It had an inner diameter of 20mm
and an outer diameter of 22 mm. Instead of machining a taper to connect the small and
large diameter a copper reducer that tapered from 0.75 inches to 1.5 inches was purchased.
Also, to connect the small diameter tube to the buffer volume, a male copper adapter was
used.

For the stack housing, PVC was used. A PVC pipe with an inner diameter of 0.5 inches
from Plumbing shop was bought. The next issue faced was connecting the copper piping to
the PVC in such a way that could withstand pressures of at least two atmospheres. The
possibility of using rubber O-rings in conjunction with quick-connect flanges was explored
in order to create a maneuverable and interchangeable high pressure seal. Flanges were
decided not to be used after it was realized that they only came in limited sizes that did not
fit our design plans. It was suggested that the copper be connected to PVC using the copper
reducer, threaded adapters and PTFE thread sealant tape. A female copper adapter and a
male PVC adapter with an inner diameter of 40.5mm were chosen. This allowed the edge
of the stack and heat exchangers to be in close thermal proximity to the outside
environment.

Since heat needs to be exchanged with the environment at the other side of the stack as
well, PVC needed to be converted back to copper. To do this, another threaded adapter was
used on the other side of the stack. Two female copper threaded adapters were used as well.
Since the speaker housing was made of PVC, the resonator should also be made of PVC so
that PVC glue could be used to bond the two. For this connection, the same threaded adapter
was used as those on both ends of the stack housing. Sizes that fit approximate planned
dimensions were chosen.

After collecting all of the necessary parts for the resonator, it could be assembled. The
small diameter tube was cut such that its length plus the length of the buffer volume

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threaded adapter was exactly to 20 cm. The small diameter tube was soldered to the adapter
and the copper reducer. Figure 4.2.1 shows the assembled small diameter tube after brazing.

Fig 4.2.1 Assembled small diameter tube after brazing along with buffer volume

The stack housing needed to have a total length of 85 mm. To achieve this, the 1.5 inch
PVC pipe was cut to a length such that the length of both PVC adapters plus the PVC pipe
was exactly 85 mm. The pieces were glued together using PVC glue. Figure 4.2.2 shows
the assembled stack housing after gluing.

Fig 4.2.2 Assembled stack housing after gluing

The next part of the resonator assembly was the section between the stack and the speaker
housing. In Tijanis design, the stack and the speaker were very close to each other. The
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remaining PVC adapter needed to be connected to the speaker housing. To do this, a hole
matching the outer diameter of the PVC adapter was cut in the speaker housing. PVC glue
was then applied to the PVC adapter and it was slid into the machined hole. Figure 4.2.3
shows the PVC adapter glued to the speaker housing.

Fig 4.2.3(a) complete speaker housing

Fig 4.2.3(b) PVC adapter glued to speaker housing


4.3 Stack

The parallel plate stack consists of Mylar plates that are spaced using fishing line spacers.
The proposed design included Mylar plates since Mylar is known to have a low thermal
conductivity.

After researching and serving the market, we have found that Mylar sheets are not
available. As we know the thermal properties of Mylar, we searched similar polyester film
used as motor winding spacers which has 125 microns thickness as per our requirement.
Fishing lines were available in nearby city which acted as spacers.

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Fig 4.3.1 Nylon Rope

A wooden dowel of 8.33 cm and 6.7 mm diameter was Krazy glued at the beginning of
the spacer winding stack to serve as a starting point for the final spiralled piece. For the
first 50cm of the spacer winding sheet strips of fishing line were glued every 3.5 mm. After
the first 50cm the spacing between the fishing line strips was increased to 1.2 cm.

Fig 4.3.2 wooden dowel


Throughout the entire process the fishing ropes was meticulously glued into place taking
careful precautions that the spacing was exact and the nylon ropes was lying straight along
the film. In order to achieve the final diameter of 40mm, the total length of the winding
paper unrolled was 4.5m.

Careful consideration was taken when rolling up the stack. The excess fishing line was
first cut off of the film in order to ensure that the spacers were flush with the winding
spacer. Next the winding spacer was cut to the desired width of 8.33 cm, in order to match
the length of the stack housing and dowel, by accurately measuring, using callipers, and
marking where to cut. Once the material was cut to the specific width, the stack was rolled
into place. It was imperative that the stack be rolled tight enough that there was no extra
space besides the spacing left by the fishing line between the layers of winding spacer but
not so tight as to compromise the fishing line spacers. Figure 4.3.3(a) shows the preparation
of the stack and Figure 4.3.3(b) stack after being inserted into the stack housing.

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4.3.3 (a) preparation of stack

4.3.3 (b) stack after rolling

4.4 Heat Exchangers

Tijani proposed to construct the heat exchangers out of two copper sheets that had been
wound together. One of the copper sheets would be flat and the other would have a sine
channel structure produced by passing the copper sheet through a toothed device.

In order to construct the heat exchangers it was purposed to solder two copper sheets
together at one end and then wind them around one another. Once completely rolled up the
two sheets would be soldered to the external surface of the spiral. Figure 4.4.1 shows this
design.

Figure 4.4.1- Proposed heat exchanger design

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After extensively researching copper sheets online aluminium sheeting was chosen for the
heat exchanger design. Although copper sheeting is much more thermally conductive than
aluminium, aluminium was the next best option based on its availability and price.

Union aluminium rolled flashing was purchased in hopes of substituting it for the copper
sheeting. However, with further analysis of Tijanis design, it was decided to look for other
alternatives due to limitations on time and the expertise in construction of such a piece.

Copper mesh as well as copper wool were used. It was decided to first test the thermo
acoustic refrigerator using layers of the copper mesh of thickness 0.3mm and wait until
later trials to test the copper wool. In order to make heat exchangers out of the copper mesh
ten circles were cut out of the sheet of copper mesh. Each heat exchanger would be
composed of five circles stacked together, varying in size from 4.56 to 4.81 cm, in order to
ensure proper thermal contact between the stack and the heat exchangers.

To better ensure that the mesh copper disks made good thermal contact with the
surroundings, the circles were placed within the piping so that they were slightly concave
in relation to the stack and stack housing. The concave circles should provide appropriate
thermal contact since there is a maximum amount of copper touching the stack as well as
the copper piping on either side of the stack housing. Figure 4.4.2(a) shows the copper
mesh and Figure 4.4.2(b) shows the copper wool.

Figure 4.4.2(a) Copper mesh heat exchangers.

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Figure 4.4.2(b) Copper wool heat exchanger.

4.5 Buffer Volume

The buffer volume has the purpose of simulating an open-end resonator. This could be
achieved using a spherical shape or a conical shape. Tijanis design uses a 9o aluminium
cone as discussed in previous sections.

To match Tijanis design machining a hollow cone out of an aluminium block was
considered. We enrolled in machining CNC course to explore its feasibility. Machining the
cone would have been much more complicated and inefficient than was first thought and
therefore other possibilities were explored.

The copper bulb was constructed by using copper sheets and machined them to get a
hollow bulb shape. This bulb was not a perfect spherical shape, but conical one. Figure 4.5
shows the copper bulb.

Figure 4.5 Buffer volume made of copper bulb

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Fig 4.6 shows the assembled view of thermo acoustic refrigeration system

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Chapter 5

ADVANTAGES, LIMITATIONS AND PROBLEMS


WITH CONSTRUCTION

5.1 Advantages

Economy: The device can be produced and operated cheaper than the traditional vapor
compression cooler due to:

Mechanical simplicity and very few number of the components.


No need for lubricants since there is only one moving part, which is the loudspeaker.
No expensive components.
Use of cheap and readily available gases (air or helium).
Lower life-cycle cost

Environmental Friendliness: The international restriction on the use CFC


(chlorofluorocarbon) and skepticism over the replacements of CFC, gives thermo acoustic
devices a considerable advantage over traditional refrigerators. The gases used in these
devices are totally harmless to the ozone and have no greenhouse effect. It is expected that
in the close future regulations will be tougher on the greenhouse gases.

5.2 Limitations

Efficiency: Thermo acoustic refrigeration is currently less efficient than the traditional
refrigerators.
Talent bottleneck: There are not enough people who have expertise on the combination
of relevant disciplines such as acoustics, heat exchanger design etc.
Lack of suppliers producing customized components.
Lack of interest and funding from the industry due to their concentration on developing
alternative gases to CFCs.
Another major problem of TAR is that it is either fully on or off.

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5.3 Problems with Construction

5.3.1 Sealing

The most persistent problem during the construction and testing of the experimental setup
was leakage of gas. This leakage occurred due to the ineffectiveness of numerous methods
of sealant used. At first, we used a pipe sealant called m-seal which solidified over a couple
hours. We then moved on to araldite for chemically attached pieces of equipment, which
worked to a certain extent. There would always be an area that had a small leaking hole
that would have to be refilled, which would then have another leak, and so on.

Luckily the most reliable sealant was Teflon tape that was wrapped along the grooves of
the screw connectors of pipe attachments and the PVC-PVC and PVC-Copper connections.
Our last bid at trying to seal the stack and speaker housing was spraying on liquid latex and
letting it dry into an m-seal. Out of the three sealants tried, combination of m-seal and
araldite worked the best. However, there were still a few small holes that failed to be sealed.
This means that a pressure higher than 1atm could not be sustained without a constant flow
of gas. This prevented us from testing with pressure greater than 2-2.5atm.

5.3.2 Soldering

One minor problem which we encountered was connecting the pieces of the Cu pipe
together, namely the two female Cu screw connectors and the middle ring. Since glue and
other chemical seals and adhesives were inadequate, we would end up using solder to
weld the 3 pieces together, and then we applied another layer of sealant around the solder.

5.3.3 Crookedness, Damage

Applying a chemical adhesive (PVC cement) between the Cu pipe and the speaker housing
created a problem with creep. The adhesive was either still drying or simply buckled over
time due to the weight of the resonator, causing an angular displacement where the
resonator and speaker were no longer in parallel alignment. In addition, at one point our
refrigerator fell off the table and caused damage to the inside JB weld hold on the speaker.

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The speaker had to be reattached to the bottom of the housing, and with irregularities in the
now deformed base of the housing chamber (as the old JB weld was still in the holes in
bottom of the chamber), the speaker was slightly crooked. Combining both angular errors
could have led to a significant detrimental effect on the ability of the thermo acoustic
refrigerator to function correctly.

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Chapter 6

TESTING RESULTS

Room Temperature= 37C


Table 6.1: Results

Time(min) TH(0C) TC(0C)


5 37 37
10 37 37
15 37 36
20 37 36
25 37 35
30 37 34
35 37 34
40 37 33
45 37 32

Graph Plotted From Above Readings

50

45

40

35

30
Time (min)

25

20

15

10

0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6
TH-TC ( 0C )

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Results

We successfully created a thermo acoustic refrigerator. Our results showed that we were
able to create a thermo acoustic refrigerator whose temperature falls below that of room
temperature. From the above table we can see that there was a temperature fall of 50, which
showed that cooling with sound is possible.

A graph was plotted taking time along Y axis and difference in temperature between hot
end and cold end along X axis. We can notice that the difference in temperature increases
as the time passes on. This proves that the cooling is possible using sound.

Hence we were successfully able to create a thermo acoustic refrigerator which showed
the cooling effect using sound as the medium.

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Chapter 7

CONCLUSION, POSSIBLE MODIFICATIONS

7.1 Conclusion

The thermo acoustic refrigeration systems are one of the solid alternatives for the
conventional systems as they use air or inert gases as refrigerants which do not cause any
harm whatsoever to the environment. Latest breakthrough, coupled with other
developments in the design of high power, single frequency loud speakers and reciprocating
electric generators that thermo acoustic may soon emerge as an environmentally attractive
way to power hybrid electric vehicles, capture solar energy, refrigerate food, air
conditioned buildings, liquefy industrial gases and serve in other capacities that are yet to
be imagined.

From the above experiment it is proved that we can get temperature difference using sound
wave. The system is very cheap and simple in construction. Though here we get a very
small temperature gradient, but it can be improved by modifying some parameters, which
are discussed in next chapter.

7.2 Possible Modifications

The major drawback of above thermo acoustic refrigerator was that air was the working
fluid. The ideal working fluid is Helium (He) gas as it is less dense and sound has maximum
velocity in it i.e. 972m/s.

Another negative point was that half wavelength resonator was used. It has more losses
than quarter wavelength resonator.

To increase the efficiency and to eliminate negative effect due to heating of speaker, a
water cooling arrangement can be used.

By applying above modification, higher temperature difference can be obtained across


stack.

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Chapter 8
COST ANALYSIS

S.NO PARTICULARS QTY COST


1. RESONATOR:
COPPER TUBE 1 70-00
COPPER SHAFT 1 1500-00
COPPER REDUCER 2
100-00

2. STACK COMPONENT:
40MM PVC PIPE 1 7-50
WINDING PAPER 1 190-00
FISHING WIRE 5
50-00
40MM PVC MALE ADAPTORS 2
30-00
FEVICOL SR GUM 2
1 100-00
COPPER MESH
150-00

3. SPEAKER HOUSING:
140W SPEAKER 1 380-00
PVC END CAP 2 120-00
PVC ADAPTOR 1
16-00
THERMOCOUPLES 1
800-00
AMPLIFIER 1
450-00

4. BUFFER VOLUME:
COPPER SHEET 1 600-00

5. FABRICATION:
THREADING,DRILLING, 2500-00
WELDING, BRAZING
6. TRANSPORTATION COST 1000-00

7. TOTAL 8063-50

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DESIGN AND FABRICATION OF THERMOACOUSTIC REFRIGERATION SYSTEM

Chapter 9
References

1) Newton and Laplace. Sound power: Thermo acoustic refrigeration uses a


loudspeaker to keep things cool. (Thermo acoustics in refrigeration).

2) Garett, S. L. (2004). Resource letter: TA-1: Thermo acoustic engines and


refrigerators.

3) Merkli and Thomann. (2002). Table top thermo acoustic refrigerator for
demonstrations. American Journal of Physics, 70(12), 1231-1233.

4) Swift, G. W. Malone refrigeration. Los Alamos Science, 21

5) Swift, G. W. Thermo acoustic engines. J. Acoustic. Soc. Am., 84(4)

6) Swift, G. W. (2004). What is thermo acoustics? A brief description, with technical


details and citations.

7) Swift, G. W., Garrett, A., & Reviewer, (2003). Thermo acoustics: A unifying
perspective for some engines and refrigerators. The Journal of the Acoustical
Society of America, 113(5), 2379-2381.

8) Tijani, M. E. H., Zeegers, J. C. H., & deWaele, A. T. A. M. (2002). Construction


and performance of a thermo acoustic refrigerator. Cryogenics, 42(1), 59-66.

9) Tijani, M. E. H., Zeegers, J. C. H., & deWaele, A. T. A. M. (2002). Design of


thermo acoustic refrigerators. Cryogenics, 42(1), 49-57.

10) Tijani, M. E. H., Zeegers, J. C. H., & deWaele, A. T. A. M. (2002). The optimal
stack spacing for thermo acoustic refrigeration. The Journal of the Acoustical
Society of America, 112(1), 128-133.

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DESIGN AND FABRICATION OF THERMOACOUSTIC REFRIGERATION SYSTEM

11) Tijani, M. (2001). Loudspeaker-driven thermo-acoustic refrigeration.

12) Wheatley, J., Hofler, T., Swift, G. W., & Migliori, A. (1985). Understanding some
simple phenomena in thermo acoustics with applications to acoustical heat engines.
American Journal of Physics, 53(2), 147-162.

13) "Thermo acoustic Refrigeration at Penn State." Penn State - Graduate Program in
Acoustics. 30 Apr. 2009

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Chapter 10
Appendix A

Design Based on Tijanis thesis

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Parts of TAR

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Actual Setup

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